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More woes for Kenian farmers as potato crop attacked by blight disease

Potato farmers in the North Rift in Kenya are staring at heavy losses following the ongoing heavy rains. The crops had been attacked by blight, which has been made worse by the rains. Peter Muga from Kanjo area in Mau Narok is among farmers counting losses after the crop was attacked by the fungal disease. He is using chemicals he bought to contain the disease. He is worried because potato farming is his main economic activity. He sprays the crop weekly at a cost of between Sh1,500 and Sh2,000.

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Pineland Farms Potato Co hits 300,000 pounds of food given away

It’s become a familiar sight in The County — Pineland Farms Potato Co. distributing hundreds of boxes of food to people who are struggling under the economic effects of COVID-19, reports David Marino Jr. from Presque Isle, Maine. The company has handed out 9,500 boxes and about 300,000 pounds of food across The “Drive Thru Box of Food Giveaway” has now provided communities potatoes, eggs and cheese in 10 different giveaways since it began in Mars Hill on April 13, reaching people from Houlton to St. Agatha.

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A ‘nutritional giant’ at work: How the humble potato changed the world

A staple food for cultures across the globe, the tuber has emerged as a nutritional giant and the friend of peasants, rulers and sages. Even today, its possibilities are endless, writes Diego Arguedas Ortiz in an extensive and thorough investigation on the history and global influence of the potato. The article was published by the BBC Travel magazine, and we publish a short summary here.

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CIP and HZPC collaborate to develop new potato varieties suitable for Southeast Asia

This project builds on ongoing work by the International Potato Center (CIP) developing early-maturing potato varieties that are tolerant to high temperatures and resistant to major virus diseases, thus suitable for growing in tropical climates.In close collaboration with the Netherlands-based global potato seed company HZPC, this project is developing early-maturing varieties with good characteristics for cooking and processing that would be suitable for the local environmental conditions. Five advanced clone candidate varieties will be cultivated and evaluated at high and low altitudes in Vietnam.

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Capture the beauty of the potato: ‘Potato photographer of the Year’ competition kicks off

While you’re stuck at home in this period of lockdown, why not flex your creative muscles and see how you can artistically capture the beauty of a potato? Whether you’re drawn to the simplicity of a King Edward, the gentle curves of a Yukon Gold or the marvels of the Maris Piper, here is a chance to show off your photography skills! The Potato photographer of the Year competition is put on by the folks who run the website Photocrowd.com. The competition is available to anyone in the world, although all proceeds will go to help the Trussell Trust in the UK to provide food for people in need at this time of crisis.

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USDA’s ‘Farmers to Food Box’ program to ramp up next week, Trump says

The United States will purchase 3 billion dollars worth of dairy, meat and produce from farmers and ranchers starting early next week, President Donald Trump announced in a Tweet on Saturday. “The USA will be purchasing, from our farmers, ranchers & specialty crop growers, 3 billion dollars worth of dairy, meat & produce for food lines & kitchens,” Pres Trump said in a tweet Saturday afternoon. The U.S. president noted that the government purchase is part of the USDA “Farmers to Family Food Box,” calling it “great news for all.”

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The great potato giveaway: Photo collage of a series of most unprecedented events due to an epic potato glut

Everyone involved in the potato industry is at this point aware of the massive potato glut that is currently at the order of the day in particularly the giants among potato producing states in the US – Washington and Idaho. A glut that was unforeseen just a number of weeks ago; is unprecedented in volume and scale; is threatening and disrupting the livelihoods and operations of many potato growers; put an unusual strain on a previously oiled and highly effective supply chain; and will no doubt have dire consequences for the potato industry in the near and even medium future.

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Syngenta develops new nematicide and fungicide technology platform

Syngenta unveiled the new TYMIRIUM™ technology platform brand this week. In a press release, the company says it is a novel nematicide and fungicide technology under development for both seed- and soil-applied uses. Based on the active ingredient cyclobutrifluram, Syngenta says TYMIRIUM™ technology provides long-lasting protection against a broad spectrum of nematode pests and diseases across all major crops and geographies.

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Food for thought: ‘Enjoy the potatoes before reality hits’

The following thoughtful piece was written by Katie Teachout, the editor of The Ritzville Adams County Journal in Washington State. “Who can deny the beauty of a crisp fall day full of late-season sunshine and laughter in the air, as gorgeous crimson leaves twirl down to the ground from stately oaks, maples and other American hardwoods? Last Wednesday, at the potato giveaway in Ritzville, the air had many of those same elements. …But just as the beauty of the falling leaves is a sure signal of cold times ahead, the potato give-away is certainly a fair warning of things that may come to pass.

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Bayer launches new insecticide for Canadian potato growers

Bayer announced the registration of the active ingredient, tetraniliprole, which will be launched commercially in the registered end use product Vayego insecticide. For potato growers, the insecticide can be used to control Colorado potato beetles, potato flea beetles and European corn borer.

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CIP mapping potato diseases in Africa: Bacterial wilt present in 73% ware potato farms and 50% seed potato farms in Uganda

Bacterial wilt is widespread in Uganda, limiting yields and degrading seed quality. But little is known about the extent of the disease. CIP conducted a nationwide survey to chart the prevalence and spread of bacterial wilt in Uganda, as well as the type of pathogens present. Bacterial wilt was found to be present in 73% of ware potato farms and 50% of seed potato farms.

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Saturday funny: When line spacing and fonts fail…

Dear PNT readers: Just because it’s weekend, and because most of us can do with a smile after many weeks in COVID-19 lockdown, I wish to share the following with you. The folks who run the 22Words website put together a list of examples of what happens when “spacing and font fails” occur in the text used on company billboards, advertisements, etc etc. Just one random space or bad font choice can completely change the message. Sometimes hilariously and inappropriately so…

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Covid-19 brings mixed news for Colorado potatoes

The good news in Colorado’s fresh potato industry is that retail demand has been very strong this spring, because of, or in spite of, the Coronavirus pandemic. James Ehrlich, the executive director of the Colorado Potato Administrative Committee, said movement from Colorado potato storages is so strong that those shippers may finish distributing the 2019 crop by July. “Prices are strong,” he added in an April 29 interview. The discouraging coronavirus news for the Colorado — and national potato industry — is the decline in foodservice sales.

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The British chipping market state of play

Last week saw the release of our end-March stocks estimates. Fresh bags and chipping stocks that remain in grower ownership at the end of March were estimated at 157.3Kt. This shows a 49% drawdown from end of January, suggesting 151.6Kt moved from grower ownership in that time. By the end of March approximately 79% of fresh bag and chipping material had left grower ownership which is 2% lower than the 5-year average. However the question faced is; what will happen to the remaining 21% if the fish and chip trade remains subdued?

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Dutch government to allocate € 50 million to help potato growers

The government of the Netherlands will provide € 650 million to save farmers from complete bankruptcy and to pay off losses caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Of this amount, about € 50 million will be used to help potato growers. The Netherlands is one of the world’s leading producers of potatoes for fast food chains. Due to quarantine restrictions, most catering establishments are closed worldwide. Therefore, the Dutch potato entrepreneurs faced the problem of the inability to sell their products.

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New planters in AVR Ceres series for planting 2 to 4 rows

This month, producer of potato cultivation machines, AVR will be introducing no less than three new planters: the Ceres 200M, Ceres 200H, and Ceres 440. The highlight of the Ceres 440 is undoubtedly its AVR Connect system, which unites all planting information and remote parameters in one digital platform. Get ready for the next chapter in AVR’s precision farming story.

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An industry in need: Canadian Federation of Agriculture reaches out to govt in heartfelt video message

In a heartfelt message titled “An Urgent Message from the Canadian Federation of Agriculture”, the CFA reaches out to the federal government in the country, voicing the hardships that many farmers experience at this time. In the opening lines, it is said: This year, Canadian farmers are facing some very challenging times and they need your help. Farmers in Canada grow food not only for Canadians, but for people all over the world. It urges Canadians to visit www.supportcanadianfood.ca.

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The great potato giveaway: U.S. farmers hand out spuds to avoid food waste

In Washington, the No. 2 U.S. potato growing state after Idaho, a billion pounds of russet potatoes, normally processed into french fries and hash browns, are sitting in warehouses that would typically be emptying ahead of the July harvest, the Washington State Potato Commision said. Instead, the organization is handing out the surplus for free in brown sacks, 100,000 pounds at a time.

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Webinar on the diversified use of potato apical cuttings now online

Earlier this week, the World Potato Congress Inc (WPC) hosted another edition of its webinars, featuring Dr. Monica Parker. She presented on “Diversified Use of Apical Cuttings to Boost Potato Seed Systems“. The webinar is now available on YouTube. It can also be viewed below, or on the WPC website here, where links are available to previous webinars as well.

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Too much, too long: Canada’s Manitoba potato growers reach breaking point

Some potato growers in Manitoba have reached a breaking point and not just because of COVID-19. Manitoba’s potato industry has been suffering for more than 18 months. There was a difficult harvest in 2018, a much worse harvest in 2019, potatoes rotting in storage this winter and production cuts this spring. The personal stress has been building and a number of producers are questioning why they continue to grow potatoes.

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Trial shows best nematicide strategy for PCN in potatoes

A sequences approach using a liquid nematicide with a new mode of action along with an existing granular product is the best approach for tackling potato cyst nematode, according to trials carried out by specialist potato agronomy group Produce Solutions. The company has spent three years testing the nematicide in Shropshire, using it alone and in sequence with granular nematicides at different rates. The firm now has a clearer view on its place in potato cyst nematode strategies and the costs involved.

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America’s pandemic snack: Lay’s potato chips

Stuck at home with nowhere to go, many Americans can’t help but snack more, and many are grabbing a bag of Lay’s potato chips. Since mid-March — when the World Health Organization first declared COVID-19 a pandemic — the number of Americans likely to purchase Lay’s has increased by 35 percent. Right now, 18 percent of the American population say they’re likely to purchase a bag of Lay’s, the highest that figure has been in three years (that figure is even slightly higher at 19 percent among those who are in-market to buy snacks in the next 30 days).

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What lies beneath: WSU team studies three-way interaction between potatoes, powdery scab, and mop top virus

A team of Washington State University scientists are taking on a destructive complex of diseases affecting valuable potato crops. Over the last few years Washington’s potato industry has encountered a new threat: Potato mop top virus, a pathogen that lives in soil and attacks the tuber, darkening the flesh and making potatoes unsellable. Mop top is spread by a protist, a fungus-like microorganism, that causes a disease called powdery scab which blemishes valuable tubers as it infects neighboring plants.

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COVID-19 puts the brakes on potato acres as McCain and Simplot scale down in Canada’s Manitoba province

Manitoba’s potato acres will take a hit this year in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and plummeting demand. According to multiple industry sources, McCain Foods has dropped 16 per cent of acres from its contracts with Canada’s Manitoba farmers, while Simplot has also made smaller cuts from its agreements. Why it matters: As demands shrinks, less processing potatoes will go into the ground this year, as well as sending up a cloud of uncertainty for seed potato growers.

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Potatoes USA: Total retail dollar sales increased by 15.5% in third marketing quarter

IRI data for the third quarter of the marketing year (January – March 2020) showed growth in both dollars and volume for total potato sales at retail, Potatoes USA says. Total dollar sales increased by 15.5% and volume increased by 15%. Every category increased in both dollar and volume sales except for deli-prepared sides. Fresh potato sales also increased in dollar and volume sales by 19.2% and 15%, respectively, with all potato types increasing in volume sales.

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Lukie Pieterse, Editor/Publisher of Potato News Today


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